Drugs Soon on Sale in Supermarkets?

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Will drugs soon be sold in supermarkets?

Thursday 4th April, the Competition Authority has given the go-ahead to the sale of non-pharmacy drugs, before the measure is again reluctant by the government.

Will you be able to buy paracetamol at the same time as your food shopping? This is again the wish that issued the Competition Authority (ADLC).

In an opinion issued Thursday, April 4, 2019 , this organisation has given fire to the sale of prescription drugs in large and medium-sized supermarkets, as well as parapharmacies.

The goal of this measure is to provide greater diversity in the distribution of the drug to patients and lower costs.

The opposite of the government

However, it is unlikely that this measure will be the subject of a bill in the immediate future, especially since this opinion is the third since 2013.

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn reiterated her opposition to this measure on Europe 1 , Friday, April 5, fearing a weakening of “small pharmacies in rural areas.” This is also feared by the pharmacists’ representatives .

But if this measure were born, here are the main changes advocated by the ADLC, which calls for a “partial and strictly controlled relaxation of the  monopoly.”

Which drugs are concerned?

It will be only prescription medical prescription  : headache (aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol), stomach pain (Gaviscon, Spasfon), sore throat, sleep disorders, vitamins …

HIV self-tests, blood glucose monitors, cholesterol testing, diagnostic tests for Lyme disease can also be sold, as well as some medicinal plants (listed in the pharmacopoeia) and some essential oils hitherto reserved for sale in a pharmacy.

Where would they be sold?

The competition authority announces it immediately: “There is no question of trivializing the sale of medicines and selling them in the same way as everyday consumer goods. ”

Dedicated and closed spaces in supermarkets (such as corners) will have to be set up in supermarkets, with “separate boxes”. The drugs will be compulsorily sold under the authority of a professional pharmacist and additional requirements could be provided, such as the prohibition of turnover targets, so as not to push the merchants to the sale.

“Our goal is to provide the same guarantees as in a pharmacy, so as not to jeopardise public health issues.”

Beyond supermarkets, this measure provides for the liberalization of the sale of medicines on online platforms.

At what cost?

The main argument put forward by the ADLC: a cost reduction of 10 to 15% estimated, “if we refer to similar measures taken by our European neighbors, such as Italy”.

Reason why the UFC-Que Choisir welcomes the conclusions of the authority. According to the consumer association, this measure would make savings of “250 million euros per year” and would put an end to ”  unjustified price differences between pharmacies for the same drug (three-fold).”

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